TAMWORTH’S been “treated unfairly” when it comes to decentralisation, says mayor Col Murray, who’s asking why places like Armidale are getting propped-up.
Cr Murray said the city should be aspiring to grow its population to 100,000 in order to obtain better opportunities locally.
But he said it would need to be helped along by better government policies.
He said Tamworth would be able to accommodate decentralised private and public sector offices.
“Absolutely, and I’m not singling-out any particular agency,” he told The Leader.
“Look at Albury with its ATO presence, or Nowra with its department of local government presence and Wagga with it defence force and other government agencies.
“We have virtually nothing and we only seem to lose our government agencies.
“Tamworth’s treated unfairly.
“They’re happy to prop-up places like Armidale, but they don’t seem to have the same energy for Tamworth.”
He said too much funding was being spent solving “yesterday’s problems” like congestion and other issues in major cities and a shift in policy could open up more opportunities in regional areas.
Cr Murray said Tamworth needed something to “aspire” to with the push towards a population of 100,000 people.
“Things don’t happen by accident,” he said.
Cr Murray said population growth would strengthen the city’s case for better water supplies and attracting more national and multinational investment.
“If you stand still, you’re going backwards,” he said.
Fellow Tamworth councillor Russell Webb said the city should be well-placed for growth and it had a strong bid to secure the Qantas pilot academy slated for regional Australia.
“I think Tamworth is in a better position to meet the criteria than other cities,” Cr Webb said.
With parallel runways, accommodation and better flying conditions, he said Tamworth stuck its head out above the rest.
He said securing more water was key for the city’s growth and had some ideas on what Tamworth had to do to get closer to the 100,000 threshold.
“You have to demonstrate you’re vibrant,” he said.
“You have to demonstrate you’re an area that’s going to go ahead and not be vibrant for a short time.
“That’s one of the things we do quite well – we’ve grown at a good rate for a long time.”